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Tamil Nadu polls: DMDK quits NDA, leader says AIADMK ‘will lose deposits in all seats’

After seat-sharing talks with the AIADMK failed, the decision to walk out of the alliance was made at a party meeting called by Vijayakanth.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: March 10, 2021 2:31:17 pm
Captain Vijayakant campaigns in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Assembly polls (Twitter/@iVijayakant)

After its seat-sharing talks with the AIADMK failed, Captain Vijayakanth’s DMDK Tuesday announced it would not fight the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections as part of the NDA.

The decision was made at a party meeting called by Vijayakanth. An official statement later said, “The DMDK quits the AIADMK-BJP alliance based on the unanimous decision at the district secretaries’ meeting.”

Soon after, DMDK leaders, including Vijayakanth’s brother in law L K Sudheesh and son Vijaya Prabhakaran, attacked the AIADMK, saying its candidates, led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, would lose their deposits in the upcoming polls.

Talking to media personnel, Sudheesh said “it is Deepavali” for all of them today. “The AIADMK will forfeit deposits in all the constituencies. K P Munusamy (senior AIADMK leader) there was working as the sleeper cell of PMK,” Sudheesh claimed. The PMK, another ally of AIADMK-BJP alliance, recently sealed its seat-sharing deal, and has been allotted some seats the DMDK wanted.

While DMDK was part of a third front in the 2016 polls along with Left and Dalit parties, it had helped AIADMK win by splitting opposition votes. They struck an alliance with AIADMK and BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and this time, the party wanted a minimum of 25 seats.

While DMDK cadres celebrated the decision to quit the alliance with crackers at their party headquarters in Chennai, Vijaya Prabhakaran addressed a gathering of party workers at Panruti near Cuddalore. In his first such public appearance before a charged crowd at an auditorium, Prabhakar attacked CM Palaniswami.

“We are starting the game here. Do not even think that we will be part of an alliance hereafter. Captain (Vijayakanth) has always been a giver, he was never at the receiving end,” Prabhakaran said.

DMDK district secretaries hold a meeting at the party’s headquarters in Chennai on Tuesday

“If you are the bigger party, you take 170 or 180 seats. But who are you to dictate the deserving number of seats for the second largest party? If you can’t give the number of seats we demand, people will give you a fitting reply. What Edappadi? Are you a Chief Minister? You are going to forfeit the deposit at Edappadi constituency. I am speaking for the people. If I speak anything more, it would lead to riots,” he said.

“You have seen Vijayakanth and Premalatha. Now you will see Vijaya Prabhakaran… People may ridicule me as a little kid. Yes, I am a kid but a decent kid,” Prabhakaran said, promising the gathering he would be there to lead the party.

Addressing “dear Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Prabhakaran claimed it was Vijayakanth who popularised the lotus across Tamil Nadu in 2014. “But now you are backstabbing us. We have all respect for you. But you will see the power of DMDK soon,” he said, adding he has enough “self-confidence”, citing how he reduced his weight from 180 kg to 70 kg in a brief period.

Senior AIADMK minister D Jayakumar said the DMDK should be careful about their reactions, and “personal attacks would lead to a similar response”.

“No matured politician will talk ill about others after they quit an alliance. Their remarks about AIADMK should be decent and fair. Political criticism can be accepted but anything personal will force us to respond in the same manner. That will damage them further,” Jayakumar said, referring to the remarks by Sudheesh and Prabhakaran.

So far, there is no clarity about the DMDK’s next move, even as informal talks are being held with TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK and Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM).

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